How Do I Start a Weight Loss Journal?

How Do I Start a Weight Loss Journal?

Written by Megan Ayala. Last Updated: July 22, 2022

Losing weight is a struggle for many.

So much so that many end up seeking weight loss diets and other solutions to solve their inability to lose weight. There is no shortage of people wanting to lose weight. There’s a reason why in 2021, the weight loss market in the United States rose to a whopping $72.6 billion [1].

Are you struggling with weight loss? We get it. We’ve struggled with weight loss ourselves.

However, that doesn’t mean you have to.

There are plenty of things that you can do to improve your chances of losing weight. The key to losing weight effectively comes with putting your body at a caloric deficit [2]. To do this, you’ll need to know how many calories you are taking in daily.

Likewise, you need to know how many you are burning.

The best way to do this is by starting and maintaining a weight loss journal. A weight loss journal can prove to be invaluable in your effort to effectively lose weight. This article will not only go over why it’s important to start and maintain a weight loss journal but also how to start one.

We will also detail some of the benefits that can be gained from doing so.

How to Start Your Weight Loss Diary: Our Top 6 Tips

a graphic of a person journaling at their desk

1. Record Everything

One thing you need to be using the journal for is recording your emotions. For many, indulging and overeating occur in different emotional states. For some, that’s eating while sad. For others, it’s eating while stressed out.

You want to figure out what your trigger is.

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Knowing your trigger can help you avoid it. For instance, if you find out that you eat a lot of unhealthy foods when you are stressed out, you can try to integrate other stress-relieving strategies into your daily life.

Try to record everything when you are journaling.

2. Track Your Water Intake

A key thing that you need to be doing when you are looking to start journaling is tracking your water intake. You want to ensure that you are taking in adequate hydration. A lot of people run into the issue of eating when their body is signaling that they are thirsty [3].

This is the last thing you want to do because it’s only going to increase your caloric intake when you only need water.

3. Do It Right Away

Don’t make the mistake of saying, “I’ll do it later.” This is the last thing you want to do.

Later turns into never.

Try to break out your journal and do it right away. Don’t wait to record your entries. Not only are you less likely to do it if you wait, but you aren’t going to remember every little detail. If you record everything when you are prepping food and/or eating, you will be able to be as accurate as possible with your entries.

It’s going to ensure that your journal is a major asset to your weight loss efforts.

4. Make It Digital

A good way to ensure that you not only track everything but do it accurately is by taking your journalling to the cloud.

Try to use your favorite mobile device to record everything. You can use a note-taking app or an app specifically meant for food journaling. Regardless, you want to try to make it as convenient as possible. For most, this may mean digitizing the process and making it easier to input everything.

Rather than doing it manually, you can automate some of it with apps or by using a spreadsheet.

5. Turn Your Journals Into Graphs

If you are a visual person, you may want to turn your weight loss journals and progress into graphs. Graphs can help visualize all of the data. When you visualize the data, the results can jump out at you even more.

This can help you see how good or how bad you are doing. Being able to visualize all of the data can make it that much more “real.” This is a rather time-consuming process, but you can make it an effective motivator for you by taking the time to do it.

If you are journaling using a weight loss app, the app may have a feature that will track your progress using visual graphs that you can leverage.

6. Pay Attention To Where You’re Eating

You want to track and record where you are eating too. This is a good way to tell whether or not you need to curb TV watching or eating while watching movies. A lot of people find themselves mindlessly snacking in front of the TV.

If you limit food access while watching TV, it could make the problem disappear.

Why Should You Start a Weight Loss Journal?

a woman eats an apple while looking at the water

1. Set and Track Goals

One of the things that everyone needs to lose weight is a consistent approach. Having a consistent approach can help you inch toward your goals day by day. To maintain a high level of consistency, you’ll need to be properly motivated.

The best way to motivate yourself is by setting goals. You need to not only set goals, but you also need to track your progress towards achieving them.

2. Plan Your Meals

A big part of success when it comes to losing weight can boil down to preparation.

You need to be adequately prepared if you want to lose weight successfully. Have you ever been in a situation where you didn’t plan your meal ahead of time so you had to get fast food?

Have you ever reached for an unhealthy snack when you didn’t prep a snack the night before? These are things that happen when you don’t plan ahead of time. You want to plan your meal plan a week in advance.

This can keep you from getting into the habit of reaching for the first thing you see when you get hungry. Along with this, planning your meals ahead of time can help ensure you keep your calories in check.

3. Find Out What’s Holding You Back

You won’t know what’s stopping you from losing weight if you aren’t looking at the complete picture.

The only way to look at the complete picture is by giving yourself it. Having a journal that you can look at will help you identify key areas needed for improvement. You can find flaws with your weight loss plan or how you are executing it within the pages of your journal.

By keeping accurate records of each day, you can figure out where you are adding too many calories much easier. After all, you have a record book showing what you ate, when you ate it, and how you were feeling when you ate it.

These things can make a big difference in helping you correct issues that are stunting your progress.

4. Track Your Exercise

Diet is very important when it comes to successfully losing weight.

However, if you want to achieve weight loss success, you’ll need to exercise too. Having a good and effective exercise routine in your daily life is a great way to maximize your weight loss efforts. However, much like dieting, you need to track it.

Knowing what you did and how many calories you burn each day is key. After all, you need to put yourself at a caloric deficit to lose weight. Because of this, you need something that you can use to track how many calories you are burning daily.

You may find that you need to increase your caloric burn if you aren’t losing the kind of weight you want to.

5. Ensure You’re Getting A Balanced Diet

Something that keeping a weight loss journal can do for you is tell you how good your diet is.

You need your diet to be delivering your body all of the nutrients needed to have optimal performance. If you feel like you aren’t getting the energy needed, you could need to switch things up. You may find that you feel much more energized when you don’t have meat in your meals.

Or you could find that you respond negatively to dairy. These things can tell you a lot about what you can do to improve your weight loss efforts.

Weight Loss Journal Benefits

1. Stay Informed

Losing weight is all about putting yourself in a position to succeed. You cannot do this without the facts.

A weight loss journal helps you track how many calories you are taking in and how many you are burning. Without this information, you cannot lose weight consistently. One day you could be at a caloric deficit and the next you aren’t. You need to be consistently burning more calories than you are consuming daily to successfully lose weight. That’s what you get when you journal.

You’ll know exactly what you need to know to determine if it’s working.

2. Stay Motivated

It’s very difficult to lose weight. A lot of people start great and fall off because they aren’t seeing the progress they wanted. It can be very difficult to motivate yourself without seeing any progress.

The initial stage of weight loss can be dramatic.

However, the majority of it is water weight [4]. This results in you getting deflated because your weight loss success tapers off. However, that’s not necessarily the case. While the scale will decrease at a much slower pace, it doesn’t mean the program you are following isn’t effective.

By recording the data in your journal, you can see even the smallest progress that can help you sustain the motivation needed to keep going and achieve success.

Summary

As you can tell, starting and maintaining a weight loss journal can be a very effective tool in your weight loss arsenal.

It’s helped me and many others achieve weight loss success. Don’t leave yourself in the dark. Give yourself every chance to succeed. The best way to do this is by giving yourself all of the information you need to optimize your diet and exercise routines.

Maintaining a weight loss journal can be one of the best decisions you make at the start of your weight loss journey.

References

  1. https://www.globenewswire.com/en/news-release/2022/03/23/2408315/28124/en/Overview-of-the-58-Billion-U-S-Weight-Loss-Market-2022.html
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/calories/art-20048065
  3. https://www.seattletimes.com/life/wellness/
  4. https://www.womenshealthmag.com/weight-loss/a19984686/weight-loss-or-water-weight/